A Message of Hope for Anyone Battling Depression

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Depression can and does happen to anyone. It’s no respecter of person.

Sadly, we witness the private struggles of celebrities exploited in the media as if their social status exempts them of human frailty and flaws. Everyday people like you and me (stay at home moms, lay ministers, the forgotten veteran, the successful attorney, the dedicated yet- overworked and underpaid teacher, the newly divorced single parent, the foreclosed family of four couch surfing with relatives and the chronically underemployed worker); we too know the heartache and silent agony of hopelessness and despair.

There’s not a one size fits all solution for treatment- whether medicine, counseling, exercise, nutrition, spirituality, etc. There’s a place for all these things and you must prayerfully consider the best option(s) for you. How do we as a community stop this silent killer and reach our loves ones in their time of need?

We must first be available to friends and loved ones experiencing trials and not assume they have a support system in place. Too often, the very people who have the warmest smile and the biggest heart often go without encouragement. I’ve witnessed first hand a dear friend walk through the agony of divorce and foreclosure (at the same time) and painfully watched my own mother fall into the blues after losing her husband to illness. At one time, I too walked through my own bout of depression – an excruciating dark season after losing employment, my home and self sufficiency.

For the person battling depression: you must refuse to believe the lies depression will tell you. One lie is that you are alone in your situation and there’s no way out. Depression tells you to keep quiet; no one cares and don’t bother anyone with your problems. Do yourself the biggest favor and get help! Please see a list of possible resources at the end of this post.

Second: Get moving! Regular exercise can improve your mood, produces endorphins, boosts self esteem, lowers blood pressure and the perception of pain. Seek the advice of your medical doctor before beginning any new fitness program.

Third: Mind someone else’s business. Get your mind off of your situation and look for opportunities to serve others- especially the less fortunate. I know this seems easier said than done. One of the best ways to find a glimmer of hope in your situation is to surround yourself with positive and caring people. Serving others has always been a way for me to stay thankful and appreciative of the little things in life that are often taken for granted.

Last but not least: Get in the Word and praise your way out! You can find comfort in knowing many individuals in the Bible also struggled with depression and expressed their feelings to the Lord. They found comfort in His Word and ultimately overcame their dark seasons. I have included a sampling of these scriptures for you to meditate upon. If you (or someone you love) is battling with depression, I want you to know your life has value and there is no situation that is beyond hope. For me, my faith in who Jesus Christ is and the power of God’s Word brought me through and keeps me everyday.This is also available to you!

Change Your Garments!

Arise from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you – rise to a new life! Shine and be radiant with the glory of the Lord for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1 AMP

Shake off your dust, rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion.” Isaiah 52:2 NIV

The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Matthew 4:16 NIV

Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Isaiah 60:20 NIV

For it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Ephesians 5:13-14 NIV

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the muck and the mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40: 1-3 NIV

Scripture Reading:

Isaiah 49:8-23

Reflection:

How did you get here (in this lowly state)? And how long has it been?

What thoughts do you have about the future?

Where do you want to be in 3 months? 6 months? 12 months? 3 years?

What will you commit to do in efforts to rise up? When will you do it?

To whom you can you make yourself accountable?

Father, I have fallen into a pit of depression and despair. I am overwhelmed by circumstances and need your power to get up. I will myself to focus on your goodness. You are the Light of my Salvation and I cling to you. Your Word promises that my darkness will become like the morning. Jesus has already given me victory through the cross – He’s already defeated these pains and sorrows on my behalf. I claim the same power right now in Jesus’ name. He has given me beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of grief, and garments of praise instead of weakness. By your Spirit I get up from this dark place. By faith, I claim victory over death, despair and depression. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Resources:
Youth Mental Health & Suicide Prevention: http://www.iyi.org/reports/other-resources/suicide-prevention.aspx
Free online counseling and therapy: http://www.7cupsoftea.com/
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Have you ever struggled with depression? How did you overcome? Did your faith give you strength to overcome?  Please share your thoughts and comments.

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